A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Friday, December 28, 2012

Nostalgia for the Last Weekend of 2012: A Royal Alliance Between Two Dynasties (Both Now Defunct)

This photo was taken in Cairo in 1939, celebrating an engagement that also marked an alliance of two royal dynasties. 
The happy couple (second and third from left on the upper side of the table) are Princes Fawzia of the Muhammad Ali dynasty of Egypt, sister of then-King Farouq and daughter of King Fuad I, and Crown Prince Mohammad Reza Pahlavi of Iran, son and heir of the then ruler, Reza Shah.

The couple were married in 1939. In 1941, when his father was deposed, Mohammad Reza became the new Shah.  The marriage produced one daughter but was not a happy one; Fawzia returned to Egypt in 1945 and obtained an Egyptian divorce; an Iranian divorce was granted in 1948 on condition her daughter remain in Iran. She married again after returning to Egypt; the Shah married two more times. He, of course, was overthrown in 1979 and died the following year, ironically, in Egypt. He is buried in the same Cairo mosque as many members of his onetime in-laws, the Muhammad Ali dynasty.

Princess Fawzia, who was styled Queen Fawzia in Iran (only the Shah's third wife, Farah, was given the title of Empress), is at age 91 the oldest surviving member of the Egyptian dynasty. A 2005 report of her death confused her with her niece, Farouq's daughter Fawzia.

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